The question, in this increasingly digital age – where technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence), IoT (Internet of Things), and a more advanced mix of them, i.e. AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things), begin to reign supreme – might sound quite rudimentary.
But it’s not. Social media marketing is also evolving dramatically and it’s also employing emerging technologies to develop marketing solutions that are smarter and more result-oriented than ever. In fact, social media marketing is proving to be the best marketing method of the larger marketing mix. Plus, it accomplishes all that at a much lower cost than conventional marketing. Find us an advertiser who wouldn’t love that!
Social media marketing offers a huge bang for your buck and gets you where you want to be with your branding and promotion goals, only at a faster pace. It’s clever, sometimes creepy too, taking your message to its target audience in seemingly shocking ways. Looking for something (or simply interacting with it on digital media) and getting bombarded with similar suggestions is hardly new today. We all know the magical ways social media marketing works.
Answering the Basic Question: What Is Social Media Marketing?
The definition is simple and quite self-explanatory: It’s the kind of marketing done on social media channels. It means that a product or service is marketed to a specific segment of a social network’s user base. The goal, like any other marketing method, is to engage with existing customers and reach new ones. Thanks to the social media platforms’ purpose-built marketing and data analytics tools, marketers get to reach the right audience and track the success of their efforts.
But this basic, and quite generic, definition of social media marketing is changing as marketers develop innovative approaches based on an advanced level of understanding of how each social network functions. This has led to creation of separate marketing plan targeting each social network in a different way, a way that’s best suited for it to turn a campaign into a surefire success. So, social media marketing can easily be defined as a process where tailored marketing content is created for each social media platform to drive engagement and promote products and services.
When you’re using social media marketing, you’re essentially driving traffic (both leads and conversions) through social media sites, whose users run in billions. And when you hear the word social media, you’d probably think of 4 to 5 social networks, but in reality, they’re in hundreds. At least 200 of them are listed on Wikipedia alone. But generally, social media marketing strategies don’t bother with the smaller networks for obvious reasons, and rather focus on the known giants.
Social Media Marketing Success: One Core Ingredient
“Tailored” should be the key takeaway in the social media marketing definition we discussed above. It’s only through marketing content that’s painstakingly tailored for each social media platform that you can reach your marketing goals. While social networks give your business the desired exposure to your target audience, it’s your content that will decide the fate of your campaign. They don’t say ‘content is king’ without good reason, you may find saying to yourself.
Social media marketing, like any other marketing method, is all about connecting your audience or customers and helping them understand your brand better. But without a message that doesn’t look made for them, achieving that goal is not possible. And if you can’t make that first impression a strong and lasting one, your campaign is a disaster, to say the least. Although making it to the right audience is itself an achievement in today’s saturated marketing world, losing a potential lead owing to uninteresting or irrelevant is a complete waste of efforts and resources. Personalized content is key.
Your content must engage your target people and prompt them into taking an action that will become your lead or conversion. Making your story attractive and meaningful is as important as taking it to the right audience. It’s the only way to make people like and identify with your brand, and become its live promoters and marketers themselves. If your brand’s story is not worth sharing, none of your social media marketing efforts will produce any results.
A Solid Base: The Five Pillars of Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is constantly evolving corresponding to technological advancements. Although the progress has spanned over a decade, the last couple of years have really shaped social media marketing as we know it today. Modern social media marketing is broadly based on core five pillars that include your approach to this marketing medium, how you publish your content, and the ways you monitor and analyze your marketing initiatives.
Below are the five core pillars of social media marketing:
You just don’t dive right in and publish content on social media without having a plan and a clear view of the bigger picture. You’ll always start with a strategy that’s based on your goals. These goals may include but not be limited to: increasing your brand awareness, driving website traffic, boosting sales, creating a community, or simply serving as a support channel for your consumers.
After you have a solid and executable strategy in place, the next step is publishing your content on social networks and targeting it to desired audience. The marketing content that you publish can be an image, a video, or a blog post, besides many other things. The key here is to publish the right content at the right time and with the right frequency.
The job is not done when the content is published; you’re only halfway there. If the content is up to the mark, it should start conversations right away, to which you should be actively listening. This engagement will tell you how your campaign is going and the next steps you should be taking. Nothing will reveal more about your marketing efforts than these comments, tags, and DMs.
Social media platforms provide you with handy tools to analyze the performance of your marketing campaigns. From your marketing reach to positive mentions, and from people’s use of your brand hashtags to other types of public engagement, these tools will give you deep insights into consumer sentiment. And this is something you should be paying close attention to.
A key element of your social media marketing efforts is social media advertising. With these ads, you can easily reach a wider audience and get closer to your marketing goals. Social media ads are effective because you can create a target audience that’s based on location, age, interests, behaviors, and more. No other advertising form gives you such efficiency and flexibility.
Build Your Brand: The Five Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Until just a couple of years ago, social media marketing did little more than generate traffic to your site. Today, it does much more than that. The social media marketing of today is able to generate crucial two-way conversations with potential customers and broaden your brand’s reach and horizon by folds. A successful campaign, coupled, of course, with a kept promise of product/service quality, is set to give you unprecedented levels of trust and customer loyalty.
Although there are many ways social media marketing can boost your business, here are its five top benefits:
- Reach New Customers
Thanks to its immense reach, social media marketing offers a huge potential to turn new audience into customers. With a powerful message, you can influence the people who haven’t interacted with your brand before much better than other marketing methods.
- Build Stronger Rapport
Social media marketing is instant, highly targeted, and built around what a potential customer is looking for. So, with the right strategy and content in place, you can not only tap into the right people, but also build a strong and lasting relationship of trust with them.
- More Leads & Conversions
If you have a good following on your social media channel, a mere post/update will bring in the traffic and sales that you’re aiming for. And if you need a higher degree of engagement, there’s always the option of paid boost which helps you get greater exposure to an audience that matters.
- Edge Over Competition
With social media marketing, you get a winning edge over your competition. Some social networks, Facebook, for instance, allow you to learn from other advertiser’s success and follow in their footsteps. This crucial insight will help you do or avoid certain things for the health of your brand.
- Highly Cost-Effective
Compare the cost and ROI of social media marketing with other marketing methods and you’ll find it a massive bargain. Creating a profile or page on social media platforms is free, so there are zero costs involved there. And paid advertising options have such high ROI that you won’t regret spending.
Social media marketing helps you reach your marketing goals faster, and in a more efficient and cost-effective manner. But it takes skills and expertise to design a marketing strategy that meets the expectations and produces the right sort of results. That’s the reason why not all social media marketing campaigns turn out to be absolute successes; they also tend to become absolute disasters.
Here, we are listing some of the ways you can develop an effective social media marketing strategy.
- Set Clear Goals and Metrics
Before moving an inch on executing your social media marketing plan, you must be very clear about what you aim to get out of it. Is it more traffic that you’re looking to reach for? Or is it more sales or downloads that you seek? There must be no ambiguity in your target for the campaign.
- Research Target Audience
Learn as much about your target audience as possible before designing and executing the campaign. This target audience is the people who will be seeing your message and interacting with it. So study and choose your target audience wisely because they can make or break your marketing efforts.
- Study the Competition
Know your competition as well as you know your target audience. As mentioned above, there are many tools that you can use to study your competition and industry best practices, like Facebook’s ads library. You can also look for many competitor analysis tools that are readily available.
- Choose Your Platforms
No two social media platforms are the same. Each one has its own characteristics and user base. Remember that you will be using YouTube, and not LinkedIn, to watch your favorite show. So, based on the type of your content and desired target audience, choose your social networks carefully.
- Create Engaging Content
It all boils down to the quality and relevance of your content. If it’s not up to the mark, the visibility will not translate into leads and conversions, rendering your campaign pointless. So, it’s wise to invest seriously into creating content that means something for the people it’s reaching.
- Monitor and Analyze
Keep a close watch on your marketing initiatives as soon as they’re in place. Actively monitor comments, mentions, and hashtags to know the success of your marketing efforts. For deeper insights into consumer sentiment, you can also try out some social media listening tools.
Boosting Brand Awareness: How a Social Media Marketing Agency Can Help
Social media marketing takes the right kind of skills and expertise to be successful and reach its true potential, which can be immense if the job is done right. There are many jobs involved, including but not limited to strategy & planning, content creation, budget management, monitoring and analysis, campaign management, and many more. So, that’s quite a lot of hands required on deck to run an effective social media campaign.
For most companies, doing this is hard on their own as they’ll need to maintain a whole marketing department in-house to run and manage their social media marketing campaigns. A viable alternative is hiring a good social media marketing agency instead, which comes in handy with all the people and tools necessary to do the job. Plus, the agency, with its experience of handling numerous social media marketing campaigns, offers better campaign designs and higher chances of success.
If you too are looking for a social media company to help you meet your marketing goals, the search shouldn’t be tough as there are many agencies offering 360-degree social media marketing solutions to a diversified range of clients. Just having a look at their clientele and the kind of campaigns they’ve run will give you an idea of whether or not the agency is worth its salt and can produce the results you’re looking for. Just be sure to communicate them to the agency in an unambiguous way and you should be able to see your brand reach and awareness soar soon.